MUSSELBURGH – Monday September 16th
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
I had a morning in the office before taking the train to Musselburgh for the Edinburgh Holiday Monday Meeting. There were a few families at the course, and many on the train making their way to North Berwick to take advantage of a bright if breezy September day.
Sunday rain resulted in a slight softening of the ground form good, but the Musselburgh turf is in excellent condition considering this was the third last meeting of the flat campaign here.
2.10 7f 30yds Batleys Foodserve Handicap (58-64)
A evenly matched if moderate field for the first event of the afternoon, 14 having been eliminated at final declaration stage.
I arrived about five minutes before the start but the antics of PARTNER meant I had time to settle. The gelding who unseated his rider going to post and then ran loose for at least a mile and a half possibly more. It was slightly surprising that Partner was allowed to take part, and after leading for four furlongs he was quickly brushed aside. He has ability, but his temperament isn’t helping.
The result was a dead-heat between two of the in-form runners here, Fraser Perratt taking in the region of ten minutes poring over the photo before announcing what everyone had imagined was inevitable.
CARA’S REQUEST is normally a front runner but didn’t lead on this occasion, although always handy. He took over two out and looked the likely winner. Keeping on well in the final furlong he battled back after being headed and got back right on the line.
SUMMER DANCER challenged throughout the final furlong and gained a half-share of a race he won last season.
The combined age of the first two is 17, so neither is likely to improve at this stage, but they are both honest sorts who gave their best to provide a cracking finish.
VIVA RONALDO has slipped down the handicap but showed a glimmer more than of late, staying on into third place without threatening the winners. He has won on soft so might be able to land a similar event in the autumn.
PERFECT WORDS had every chance if good enough and turned out not be on this occasion. This was a first urn at seven furlongs for this 19 race maiden and he appeared to see the trip out.
MOWHOOB is probably capable of winning at this level, but doesn’t show too much inclination to exert himself at the business end. He was comfortably held in fifth.
2.40 7f 30yds Drinks Express 2yo Selling Stakes (Class 6)
MAID IN RIO had not shown much before this, well held at Ayr and Beverley then outclassed in a sales race at The Curragh, although she did show some speed in the latter event. This was however a good deal easier and she showed four rivals a clean pair of heels from the two furlong marker. Connections went to £8,500 to see off a single opposing bidder. She will presumably move on to nurseries.
BLACK TREACLE was very late in the paddock, presumably because he looked rather revved up. He led for the first half of the race, and kept on honestly enough once passed to hold on to second. The effort suggests he stays seven furlongs. He’s honest enough and consistent and just caught one too good on this occasion.
PRINCESS TAMAY hasn’t been brilliant to date. She had two handlers in the paddock and appeared a bit of a handful. She kept on in the closing stages but was held by the second throughout the final furlong.
ANGEL ROSA was beaten two furlongs out and disappointed in comparison to previous efforts.
BOY RANGER was way too lively in the paddock and much too slow in the race.
3.10 2m Batleys Cash And Carry Handicap (64-79)
A competitive little contest for a decent prize on a quiet Monday.
MAN OF PLENTY has raced on no firmer than good and one supposes his trainer feels he’s best with cut. A little bit of juice presumably suited and he made the trip from Newmarket pay, asserting from a number of potential challengers from two out.
BOWDLER’S MAGIC impressed with a determined effort chasing after the winner if never closing fast enough. He seems in good heart for his new yard, that of David Thompson. Seen out here in hurdles last season performing passably well, it would be no surprise if he pitches up again in November when the Musselburgh jumps season begins.
DR IRV was outpace in the final two furlongs and appears on tougher mark now having been raised 6lbs for a neck win last time out in a six-runner contest.
HIT THE JACKPOT had every chance two out and wasn’t good enough when the chips were down.
JAN SMUTS was moved up a couple of grades and didn’t help his cause by rearing at the start. In rear for most of the way, he made some progress to threaten briefly over two out but could muster no more at this point. He needs to drop back in class. He didn’t convince over hurdles last year and I wonder if Wilf Storey might be tempted to use his staying power at Southwell.
3.40 5f Best One Nursery Handicap (55-72)
The winner ONE BOY has ability but it’s proven difficult to get the tactics right since a win at Redcar on debut. He tracked the leaders and showed a decent turn of pace to hit the front at the furlong pole, sticking on well to hold the main challenger. He has decent speed and should be capable of winning again.
BOUNTY GIRL emerged from the field to chase the winner in the closing stages. She was tried in eyeshields here and ran to the best of her previous form on this occasion.
I can’t remember seeing too many dead-heats in forty odd years of racegoing, but there were two on this card with CLASSICAL DIVA and BOUNTIFUL FOREST sharing third place in this race. The pair don’t look especially favourably handicapped, but weren’t disgraced here.
NOBLE ASSET, an expensive Breeze-Up purchase, races a little too keenly for his own good. He showed early pace but was spent by the final furlong.
4.10 1m 1f Best In Claiming Stakes (Class 6)
This was a decent contest for a Class 6 with a number of older campaigners with decent form in the book. The race offered what I considered the best bet of the afternoon, the bet paying off as DEMOLITION landed the money off bottom weight. Entered for £5,000 by Noel Wilson, he was well favoured at the weights and didn’t look in any danger after taking charge two out. Demolition has been finding the task just beyond him in handicaps but he’s done well dropped to claimers and adjusted ratings gave him 7lbs plus in hand.
EXTRATERRESTRIAL, another who has been making his mark now aimed at claimers, chased the winner form two out and was not disgraced. He might well find a similar contest and he has won claimers at Carlisle and Newcastle this season, suggesting that a stiff track suits.
PRIME EXHIBIT is a hard puller who was restrained from the gate by his jockey. He never got a blow in at the leaders but stayed on in the last two furlongs to take third place.
ROYAL STRAIGHT chased the leaders two out but couldn’t get in a serious blow at the leader. He ran quite well at these weights, but he’s favoured by fast going and time is probably running out this season.
JEBEL TARA ahd every chance and wasn’t good enough from two out. He had a purple patch when well handicapped early in the season, but he’s gone up in the weights and found this company a little tough.
SEATTLE DRIVE was squeezed for room two out and never got in a blow. He was subsequently claimed for £10,000 by David Pipe. Fifth in a big field maiden hurdle at Galway a year ago, he may now be aimed at hurdles by his new trainer.
4.00 5f Petrushka Vodka Handicap ( 48-69)
WINDFORPOWER has a lot of races under his belt for a three-year-old since this was his 38th outing. This was a sixth career win, a decent record at this end of the spectrum, though this was a first turf win. He raced prominently, led a furlong out and showed determination to gain the day.
ECONOMIC CRISIS, noted on more than one occasion here as ‘runs often but wins seldom’, once again earned a bit of keep with a decent effort and was closing in on the winner at the line. Not betting material but does enough to keep her owners interested.
MR MO JO led at a decent pace and kept on well enough once headed. A sharp five furlongs suits fine, though a win at Newcastle suggests he’s not one dimensional.
GO GO GREEN, a winner of a seller this year, stayed on from the rear for a never nearer fourth.
OUR DIANE came to the front approaching the final furlong but was headed and held in the final furlong.
SAXONETTE didn’t go the early pace and could only pick up a length or two under driving late on. A fair enough effort, but the race she won at Hamilton in July was a dire contest and she normally finds a few too good.
5.10 1m 4f 100yds Xtra Local Handicap (Betfair Stayers’ Series Qualifier) (51-62)
A competitive event won in catching style by an improving three-year-old filly in Bayan Kasirga. She had tack problems last time when unseating, so this effectively reads as a second consecutive win. She led two out and ran on strongly to pull clear. The impression is that there’s a bit more to come and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she overcomes a weight rise. The final of this series is held here on October 14th and I would imagine Brian Ellison will be eyeing that contest.
GEANIE MAC kept on well enough for second and ran up to her best of this season.
Philip Kirby has recently acquired BURNS NIGHT and he could take advantage of this one’s current mark. His best form on the flat has been short of this distance, but he seemed to see out the trip if getting in a blow at the leader. He may be placed to win in the coming weeks.
VALANTINO OYSTER isn’t straight forward but has regularly been in the mix lately. Pushed up to lead early on, he stuck at it once passed but had nothing left in the final furlong.
HIGH ON THE HILL raced in rear and stayed on through the field to take fifth place. Lightly raced since winning in 2011, Iain Jardine seems to have the six-year-old in good heart and there may be a minor handicap for him this autumn.
5.40 Petrushka Vodka Handicap (47-69)
I noted OPT OUT as a possible future winner back in June when spotting him at Ayr. He didn’t go on from there, but he looked very well and the latent talent was uncovered on this occasion. Covered up on this occasion, he came through to lead inside the final furlong and asserted bin the closing stages.
TOM SAWYER ran a decent race under a penalty. He soon led and ran on once headed, suggesting that there is another win around the corner.
HERE NOW AND WHY had every chance but was held in the final furlong. He’s a win in his turn performer, but has been in decent nick of late.
IRISH GIRLS SPIRIT probably needs the ground slightly quicker, so a close enough fourth was a sound enough effort.
With an hour to kill before the train back to the city I took a stroll across the centre of the course and walked down the back straight of the jumps course. The turf is in excellent nick and should please trainers looking to run in the four jumps fixtures coming up before Christmas. The turf is very lush and the surface even.
Meanwhile the golfers were appearing for a few late evening holes on the links. Two of them put on a pretty dire exhibition of putting and chipping for me to watch. Gives me hope if ever the clubs appear from the garage again…
Onward past Ma Forman’s pub at the end of the golf course. It was a sorry sight a few years back, but has had a new lease of life in recent times and the food menu looks well worth a try.
Other commitments mean I won’t be at Ayr for the Western Meeting, but I will be on course at Hamilton on Sunday September 22nd. It’s then on to a belated birthday celebration at Musselburgh the following Sunday courtesy of my wife, a review of the Epperston Suite to follow! Kelso start their jumps programme in early October, then I hope to get in another visit to Musselburgh on October 14th when the Willie Park Trophy heads what should be a very decent card by normal Monday standards.